To Market or Not to Market?

On January 20, 2012 my first book was released. Prior to its release, all I’d done was set up a Facebook page and blog, and posted a few details about the book on both. I didn’t really have a marketing plan. I suppose in my ignorance, I assumed that the cover and blurb would miraculously draw readers. Then those readers would tell all their friends and family, and the sales would snowball from there. A few months into publication I realized I needed a better plan than that. While the book did okay, it wasn’t exactly bestseller status. To figure out what to do I looked online at other self-published authors who had been successful to find out their tips. From there, I launched my first marketing campaign. I sent many copies of Prowl to reviewers. I joined Goodreads and Twitter and started social networking with bloggers, other authors and book pages. At this point I realized that I’d done things backwards. I really should have been connected to this wonderful online community long before publishing my first book.

Most of what I’ve learned about marketing has been from trial and error. After Prowl came out I assumed that physical events were the way to go. I worked tirelessly to set up book signings, and I sent out press releases to local magazines and papers. To be honest, these efforts weren’t that lucrative. I’ve found that with my genre, online marketing works best. Because truthfully, my kindle sales far exceed my paperback sales. And my events mostly consisted of my sweet friends and family (who already had my book). At first I had a hard time posting on my Facebook page, twitter account, etc. I thought it was shameless promotion, and that it would turn people off. But I’ve learned that the fans on my page like to hear about my books. I’ve also learned that engaging my fans is the best way to use my page. I like asking questions, sharing insider information about my books, and even tidbits about my life. Contests and giveaways work well too. Book pages and bloggers have become my best allies. They are so helpful in promoting my works, posting reviews and sharing about giveaways and sales. I am incredibly grateful for them!

Another amazing marketing tool has been my free prequel short stories. I credit many of my DAZZLE and PROWL sales to these stories. They give readers a free glimpse into my books and writing style, and if readers like it they will inevitably buy the whole novel.

I still believe the best marketing tool I have is my books. I truly think that if I channel most of my effort into writing good stories that are well written, edited and packaged nicely, they will sell. And even though I am still not a bestselling author, I’m getting better all the time. And I have amazing, loyal fans – the best in the world in fact! I couldn’t be happier, and I thank God everyday for this amazing job.


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